Sehwag's roller-coaster ride continues

Has there ever been a roller-coaster ride in Indian cricket comparable to that of Virender Sehwag's?

updated: June 21, 2009 09:41 IST
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Has there ever been a roller-coaster ride in Indian cricket comparable to that of Virender Sehwag's whose batting has touched stratospheric levels at times before plumbing the depths on other occasions? The Delhi swashbuckler rose to prominence in 1999 through one-day internationals before stunning one and all with his spitfire batting in Tests that has fetched him over 5700 runs in 69 matches to date.

The fact that eleven of his 15 Test tons are scores in excess of 150, including an Indian record of two triple and three double centuries, tells its own story of how much and how quickly he decimates the opposition bowlers and rattles them into submission.

But there have also been times when the legion of his fans have been forced into frustration at the manner in which he has thrown away his wicket just when they had expected him to take the leather off the ball with his audacious stokeplay.

Sehwag was not even in the original list of 30 players for the last Australian tour in end-2007, after having lost his place in the Indian team due to a poor run, before he was inducted in because of his splendid previous tour Down Under.

Having lost the vice captaincy meanwhile, the flamboyant opener was not included by the team's think tank in the first two Tests before the tour selectors realised their folly with India trailing 0-2 and inducted him for the Perth Test.

Sehwag made a worthwhile return with a brisk innings of 72 to play a key role in India's sensational and historic win at the WACA and then made a fighting 151 in the second innings, batting in a manner that was alien to him, to help his team save the fourth and final Test at Adelaide.

Having resurrected his interrupted international career so splendidly, he announced it with a bigger bang in the home series against South Africa with a career-best 319 in the drawn opener at Chennai.

During the course of that fabulous, attacking innings, he reached 300 in a record fastest 278 balls, but thereafter his success at the Test level has been modest, except in Sri Lanka where all other top-order batsmen were flummoxed by the mystery spin of Ajantha Mendis.

In five other Tests, two against England at home and three away in New Zealand, Sehwag has performed below-par with a total tally of 249 runs, averaging around 28, with only one half century (83 against England) to boot. It contrasts sharply with his career average of plus-50.